to keep the other children safe
from my infectious grief
they left me in lockdown
Explain quarantine to children,
says the headline. If they could
read, we could leave the truth
lying around for them to trip
over, but these little ones are
still blank and shiny as their own
wet thumbs, so we say
this is a one-time thing.
We’re near the end.
We can see them again soon,
meaning each missed
someone. Soon, near, one,
can, we say. Those were the
generic words the mini-mart
had, so we stocked up quick,
watched rain drip off the roof.
–From Dora Malech’s “Time Trying” in Four Quartets: Poetry in the Pandemic (130), reviewed here.